News coverage of the Virginia massacre is generally agreed to point to a future (Cybersoc) in which the first page of history is written not by professional journalists but by the people on the ground using participatory media tools such as blogs, photosharing and videosharing. (I seem to recall a couple of years ago we agreed that the 7/7 bombings and the Buncefield fire pointed us to that future too - this is one of those futures that seems to be "already here but unevenly distributed", in William Gibson's magnificent phrase.) What place therefore the press when the news is broken by the public? Signposting, aggregating, filtering but above all validating that content. When everyone will be a journalist for fifteen minutes (MathewIngram) trusted news brands are needed more than ever to help us filter truth from falsehood. Just not to, you know, merely break the news. Welcome to the new world. Again.
(I wrote two versions of this post, chose one of them, and then somehow typepad ended up publishing both. How confusing for everyone. Fixed now, anyway. Odd really how a single word can so change the tone.)